Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Irish Constitution, and the frozen embryo case

Donal O'Driscoll of Irish Media Review (IMR) raises major question marks in his press release, over the recent Irish Supreme Court decision the frozen embryos case

The IMR statement is reproduced in full below

Many will look with envy on the Republic of Ireland’s written constitution. Such a constitution is the basic law, and is above the politicians and the lawyers. It is approved by the people in a referendum, and can only be changed by referendum.

However, if parts of a constitution are not to the liking of a government, it can, illegally in my view, ask the courts to "re-interpret" those parts.

Theoretically, one can take a case against the State.

Such a "re-interpretation" has just arisen.
In December 2009, the Irish Supreme Court decided, contrary to the evidence(1), that the referendum of 1983 (which was passed) did not protect human life before implantation.

The Chairman of the leading organisation opposed to the proposed amendment in 1983, Mr Adrian Hardiman (2), is now a judge of the Supreme Court. To add insult to injury, instead of being called as a witness, he participated in the Supreme Court’s ruling.

It seems to me, that it was totally inappropriate that Mr Justice Hardiman should have acted in this way.

As regards the views of the public, the vast majority of submissions to the Government-appointed Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, in 2002/3, and to the Irish Council for Bioethics, supported protecting human life from conception, and said that any form of lethal experiments on embryonic life should be absolutely banned.
The public must have a say in what science is doing.

The people of today are the embryos of yesterday. It is totally unacceptable that those embryos are treated as inanimate raw material for commercially-driven scientific research.
The politicians, who support an industry at the expense of a largely uniformed public, will have to pay a price when the same public becomes aware of what is being done in their name.


1.See, eg, letter in Irish Examiner, 21 December 2009, "Embryo ruling "a betrayal of the Irish people"" , by Kathy Sinnott, (until recently, an MEP)
2.See,eg, page 171 of "The Second Partitioning of Ireland" , 1990, by Tom Heskith.